CALI, Colombia, Sept 4, (Agencies): A Colombian nun-turned-rapper in sports sneakers will perform for Pope Francis when he visits her country this week.
Maria Valentina de los Angeles is one of a group who will sing the official song for the Argentine pontiff’s visit as he greets the crowds. It is “an opportunity to show him our love the way that we know, which is through music,” Maria Valentina, 28, told AFP.
“The cool thing about rap is that it sticks in your head easily. And when it has the depth of truth, which is Christ, then it is even more striking.” The petite nun, 28, performs a rap interlude among the cheerful Latin beats of the song “Let’s Take The First Step” by the United Catholic Musicians. The ensemble headhunted her after she won a reality-show competition on television called “Another Level.”
The United Catholic Musicians hailed the naturalness of her rapping and invited her to compose and perform the rap interlude. Francis visits Colombia, a Catholic country of 47 million, from Sept 6 to 10. He is credited with aiding a peace deal signed last year between the Colombian government and the leftist FARC rebel force after half a century of war. “Colombia welcomes you with open arms,” goes Maria Valentina’s rap.
The nun says she likes the rebellious spirit of rap. For her, it chimes with Francis’s own call to the young to “make trouble” — his way of telling them to fearlessly share their faith. “Trouble in the way the holy father means it is being different, being bold and bringing a message of joy, hope and charity,” she told AFP in the western city of Cali, where she is based.
“Our intention beyond just thanking the holy father is to act as a church so that all people can sing with us.” Maria Valentina is a member of the Community of Eucharistic Communicators of the Heavenly Father in Cali.
The group was formed in response to a call from the late Pope Jean Paul II for artists to use their work as a means of spreading the gospel. Its members include a television producer and a musical group including Maria Valentina, which has made two records. “God wants to be known through the media,” she says. “He has to make himself known by way of current trends.”
Maria Valentina also strums the ukelele and played rock guitar in her youth. She says God saved her from a serious liver disease when she was a youngster. “My dream is to be a good nun. Making music is a second dream,” she says. “I want to make more recordings, but more than making people fall in love with my voice, I want to make them fall in love with Jesus.”
Grammy-winning rap star Lil Wayne was taken to hospital on Sunday after suffering a seizure and being found unconscious in his Chicago hotel room, TMZ said on its web site. Lil Wayne, 34, who has become one of the biggest names in rap music over a two-decade career, suffered a second seizure at the hospital, TMZ added, and his representative confirmed to the site that he had suffered multiple seizures.
Reuters could not reach representatives of the rapper to confirm the report. The incident comes more than a year after the rap star, whose Grammy wins include the best rap album award in 2008 for “Tha Carter III,” was treated after suffering what his representatives called two minor seizures.
Four years ago Lil Wayne, whose given name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr, spent several days at a Los Angeles hospital, after which he told radio station Power 106 he was epileptic and prone to seizures. Lil Wayne had been set to perform in Las Vegas late on Sunday night. The New Orleans-born rapper began his professional career aged nine, when he became the youngest artist to be signed by Cash Money Records.
Taylor Swift surprised fans on Saturday, slipping a forward pass into her “Reputation” rollout by teasing a minute’s worth of a new song, “Ready For It,” during the lead-in to ESPN’s Florida State vs Alabama college football game. No word from Swift or Big Machine Records as to when what will presumably be the single from “Reputation” might drop. The snippet was used to rev the audience during the pre-game. The “Reputation” album has a Nov 10 release date. Earlier in the week the first “Reputation” single, “Look What You Made Me Do,” released Aug 25, was used to promote the same Florida vs Alabama game.
“Look What You Made Me Do” was also featured in ABC’s Thursday night TGIT lineup promos that began airing the day the single dropped, concurrent with a steady push on social media, with accounts for ABC’s three TGIT shows pumping hashtags for #TGITaylor, #Reputation and #LookWhatYouMadeMeDo. That culminated in Shonda Rhimes, who produces the TGIT shows, tweeting out a mention of Swift and her new single. Swift makes no secret of the fact that she is a big fan of the Rhimes-produced “Grey’s Anatomy.” Adweek reports Swift named her cat Meredith after a character on the show played by Ellen Pompeo, who appeared in Swift’s 2014 “Bad Blood” video.
Retro pop icon Tom Jones is postponing a US concert tour due to health concerns, the 77-year-old Welshman told fans Saturday via Twitter. Jones, whose career spans six decades, was scheduled to start an ambitious Stateside tour on Sept. 6 in Pennsylvania, but on the advice of his physicians will now embark on those shows in May and June of 2018.
The singer did not disclose the medical problem that prompted the change in plans. Tickets for the 2017 shows will be honored for the new dates or can be turned in for refunds. Jones, a baritone crooner whose first hit was 1964’s “It’s Not Unusual,” was a performance phenomenon throughout the ‘60s, famous for his signature tight pants and unbuttoned shirts that made him an international sex symbol. He won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1966, and while his career has weathered ups and downs in the ensuing decades, he won an MTV Video Music Award in 1989, the year he teamed with the Art of Noise on a cover version of Prince’s “Kiss.”
His signature hits include 1965’s “What’s New Pussycat” and “Delilah,” from 1968. Jones also enjoyed a degree of crossover success in Hollywood, landing a coveted James Bond theme for “Thunderball” (1966) and having his songs synched in dozens of films and TV shows. He played himself in the 1996 Tim Burton film “Mars Attacks.” In 2008 Junkie XL had success with a remix of Jones’ “Feels Like Music,” and in 2012 he was one of the judges on UK edition of “The Voice.” Jones has been struggling emotionally since the 2016 death of his wife Linda, to whom he’d been married for 57 years.